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Carnival Games: Mini Golf
5 New from
I'd have given this game five stars but for one or two little niggles.
The physics of the ball and the use of the Wii-mote are excellently implemented. My sons (8 and 3) can both play it, even my wife likes it! You can play four players (obviously taking it in turns), and you line up the shot before swinging the Wii-mote to build the power of the shot. There are some sub-games if you get the ball into a special area, the completion of which will give you a hole in one.
What I don't like is the single player game, which very rapidly dulls. Each 'course' is made up of three holes, one of which is a 'challenge' type where you have to basically guess at the answer and get the shot in one go.
Unfortunately, in order to unlock all the courses you have to plod through the single player game. To me that defeats the purpose of a Wii-game. It's a communal console, and multi-player should be the driving focus of ALL the games. Single player should offer a different aspect of the game (like in the excellent BoomBlox), without compromising the multi-player.
My other niggle is that the four characters are forced upon you. It should have used the Miis.
If the game came with all the courses unlocked for multi-player, used Miis and ditched the challenge holes, this would have got 5 stars. What's in the game though is still well worth buying.
Mini Desktop Racing (Popcorn Arcade)
4 New from
In terms of in game physics, the game is spot on. Your cars can knock things over and push them out of the way. The graphics are good, and the track layouts well thought out.
Unfortunately, the game is completely unplayable due to the awful control system. In order to turn the car you twist the remote about it's long axis, and this is really hard to get right. It's so difficult that even with a few hours practice I was still unable to control the car with any degree of accuracy, and I consider myself quite good at computer games with a wide variety of control systems.
Wait for version two when Popcorn have figured out how to use the Wii-Mote correctly. FIFA 08 was shocking to control, but 09 got it right. Hopefully, Popcorn will do the same.
Tomtom Go 720 Handheld Sat Nav (Western European Maps)
I bought the TomTom 720 two weeks ago. I chose this model because it has auto re-routing, integration to my car stereo via its internal FM transmitter, integrated with my phone through blue-tooth, had a big screen, good reputation and would play MP3s (also through the car stereo).
It arrived in good time (thanks Play!), and I eagerly followed the instructions for installation to the letter. This was my mistake. If you go for any TomTom, after plugging the device into your computer, but before installing the latest maps and application software make a back up of EVERYTHING already on the TomTom (open its folder in Windows Explorer (shows as drive E or F) and copy all the files/directories etc into a backup folder on your PC). You'll thank me for that nugget of information! Then you can allow it to install all of its software and updates. I did the update without the backup and the downloaded application and map were corrupt - the corrupt application caused the box to flash a red cross. I sorted that with help from the internet (TomTom were rubbish!), but the map was another problem entirely. Once you've downloaded a map update from TomTom, you cannot download it again. If you had a problem with either application or map download you can use your backup to 'fix it' and try again.
I'm still waiting for the replacement box (TomTom's suggestion when their support ran out of ideas, and wouldn't allow me to download the map again), and hopefully Play will be as excellent as they were with the original delivery. I did manage to get slight use out of the broken box, and I can recommend it strongly (but BACKUP!), when it worked, it was smooth and did everything I expected even better than I expected. When used to generate and guide me through a route, it kept rebooting (which was frustrating), something I couldn't solve with all the help the internet had to offer.
The FM transmitter coupled with the BlueTooth connection to the phone allowed me to use the box as an in-car jukebox, with speed camera alerts and hands-free kit for the phone - all of which was flawless, and easy to set-up and operate. Using the box like that was a joy. It was just a shame I couldn't use it as a route planner!
In summary - if you're after a sat-nav and your budget will stretch to the 720, go for it! It's brilliant. Just remember to back it up before you connect to TomTom and you'll have the best sat nav on the market.